By FARUK KIRUNDA
It is a month since campaigns for President and Members of Parliament (MPs) started, with elections falling on January 14, 2021 (kindly, mark that date!).
Later, Local Council executives will be elected. I wish to report that the campaigns are going well and duly thank Ugandans for their support and interest in the exercise. Elections are the climax of our celebration of the democracy we have come to cherish and nourish.
I have seen figures indicating that NRM fielded the largest number of candidates at all levels-73% (43, 849 out of 44, 682 positions).
There are four basic elements to winning a general election under any circumstances; one is having a majority membership, two is having the broadest network of structures, three is having candidates in all or the largest number of constituencies, four is having the best candidate for the top most office in the and lastly, having an attractive message that connects to the people (best manifesto).
On all the counters, NRM is compliant. Moreover, the ruling party has a record of victory reaching back to 1996 all the way to 2016, the Local Council elections of 2018 and Special Interest Group (S.I.G) elections of this year.
At the head of this great operation by NRM is President Yoweri Museveni whose prowess as a liberation fighter equipped him with guerilla tactics which are modified to fit different settings.
Someone who went through a hail of bullets and over a decade in life-threatening conditions cannot fail the test of organising to win elections. In 1980 when he contested for the post of MP in Ankole, he was a stranger to politics, more so electoral politics.
He had no structures although he had a strong message and saw the path the country was heading. Today, he is the number one expert because of the valuable experience he has gained as president.
I wish to inform all that it is easier to get Museveni reelected this time than ever before. Not only has NRM earned its place in the history of Uganda as the strongest mass party with a fertile and firm viewpoint on things but it meets all the conditions necessary to succeed.
The beauty of NRM is the ability to accommodate everyone, a policy promoted by the party’s National Chairman in the very style he used during the liberation wars-Museveni is not someone to miss a chance to give everyone an opportunity to make a contribution as long as the objective is the same.
That is how, among other unique methods, he came to establish affirmative programmes for everyone in development including the ghetto. I dare say there is no one in Uganda who is not covered by one programme or the other aimed at the core goal of economic empowerment and financial independence.
If it is not through formal employment in government then it is working in the private sector. For both those in the private and public sectors, there are windows to secure seed and investment capital. As of now, the flagship fund is under emyooga which is taking care of all categories of skilled Ugandans engaged in self-employment from boda boda, women, youths, salon operators, shop operators, artisans, journalists and so on. As of now I think this money should be accessible in the various constituencies.
However, it is noted that in constituencies represented by the opposition, people are being denied information on the availability of these funds while others are misled not to apply for them claiming that it is Museveni’s money and they should reject, yet these are individuals working and earning from the government. Why don’t they resign as an example to others that their problem is not money but plain positions? Why are they dying to retain positions in or join the government under President Museveni?
It is wrong to lock out anyone from the money economy, a tendency which the president has fought all his time in leadership. Museveni is all about accommodation, accommodation, accommodation and constructing a Uganda which effectively works for everyone.
Looking at his opponents, you can see that some typically lack inspiration, others are driven by hate while others simply cannot articulate what it is they are bringing on the table for Ugandans to have hope in them.
I have noted before that Museveni’s interest in politics is for no other purpose other than opening the eyes of citizens to opportunities and creating an enabling environment for prosperity. The Vision, as ever, is clear. What is lacking is the will and backing of all leaders at all levels and the general public. The whole idea of opposition as we know it is to distract Ugandans from what matters-personal and collective prosperity to petty issues such as who takes which post, who is which age, who is of which tribe, who is of which religion.
True, with the passage of time people, may want to see new faces but under a democracy, all factors are considered together before making a decision and when that sieve is applied, Museveni emerges on top. All NRM flagbearers and other teams should proudly market his new outlook fitting the times. He is not a hard sale and I believe that Ugandans are picking his messages clearly from the safety of their homes where our door-to-door teams are reaching out to them.
So, the 2021 elections are about those who want Ugandans to prosper and flourish and those who want to drag them back and snatch their future. Choose wisely!
The author is a Private Secretary to H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda in charge of Media Management.